Big Digital Services Are a Rip-Off

Your correspondent has enjoyed a few days of Covid bliss which is almost being relieved with  digital streaming services.

Our household solution is to group these digital services into a single operator for what we hope is the best price and service. These services include the mobile phones, the iPads, the internet and digital TV services.

In Finland, we have a choice of three companies – DNA, Elisa and Sonera. DNA were privately owned, while Elisa had a big group of public sector owners, and Sonera is c. 40% owned by the Swedish government.

  1. The choice can be made on price but that is not possible because they all have almost the same price!
  2. Another criteria could be network coverage, but that too is identical since it appears that they are now ubiquitous as ticks on an elk’s back.
  3. A third criteria is the service they provide when you need help, but that too is almost impossible to  distinguish because they are all crap. 

Calling them requires the patience of an elephant because they leave you hanging on the line for between 20 and 30 minutes before answering, while you listen to awful music and a man who tells you repeatedly that it will only take a moment for your call to be answered. When they do answer they just try to sell you a new faster service or give you another number to call! Their motto for solving customer problems is “Sell them More!”

DNA has a free service line, whereas the others appear to like charging you for waiting… so we ended up using them.

Things were fine until the last communist state’s telephone company, Telenor ASA, bought it up in 2020! Telenor’s biggest majority owner (54%) is the Norwegian government. After that acquisition everything has gone downhill because the service has got worse and that is not reflected in invoicing. We pay the same price for a worse service – Your correspondent recalls our experiences in Stockholm with COMHEM.se – such nice people offering a half-baked digi-TV system – it was owned then by the Swedish government.

In our summer house, over the last 2 years our DNA HD digital TV service has pixels that break up most of the time so we have to move back to analogue! Digita, the new owner of this service claims that the service will improve sometime in the future when they build a new mast but nothing happens… they also deny that we have a problem and we continue to pay the full fee. They are owned by the Private Equity boys so basically their customer service motto is “Get Lost.” They have never answered our emails on time and their customer service is basically awful – but we cannot have everything in this life.

At home in Helsinki, our ordinary digi-TV programmes and our streaming services have started to slow down with some channels experiencing frozen screens for some 10 to 30 seconds… so we called DNA again, and after a fifth 34 minute wait, (there is a strike at DNA), today I told the nice young man that we have these problems. “Aha,” he said, “then you need to buy a new modem that costs €140.” 

This was the first time we heard this clever idea. It appears that a new modem can handle all the new developments of the streaming services that have been developed this last couple of years.   I asked why do we have to fork out money for a service that is not working properly on existing equipment for which we paid the full price five years ago. He told me that old equipment must be replaced every 5 years. This was the first time I had heard this story even though we have called five times already! I agreed that may be the case, but I repeated my question, “Why are we paying the full price for a service that does not work as agreed…  … and shouldn’t we be entitled to a discount. He then told me that matter is handled by another department that is now on strike and that I should call them when the strike is over! I asked him to send them a note because I am a client and he is in the service industry – he declined. OMG that call lasted 1 hour 19 minutes.

This business is a rip-off… and you can only move from one state-owned company to another! So much for competition and free markets.

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